Dear Past Me

Submitted into Contest #231 in response to: Write a story about hope.... view prompt


Coming of Age Inspirational

This story contains themes or mentions of suicide or self harm.

I never thought I’d ever be okay.

Day after day, week after week, year after year – it was always the same. Ever since I turned 14 and my heart was shattered into a million pieces for the first time, it had always been the same.

Wake up, make it through the day without a mental breakdown, go to bed.

Don’t cry. Don’t make Mom worry. Don’t show what you feel.

I hadn’t been the same since. Everything about me had changed, I had transformed; from a bubbly, young girl, into a teenager who had to grow up too fast, into an adult who never quite got the grasp of how to be happy.

Friend after friend leaving me, hurting me, leaving me behind to deal with my shattered heart that I had just glued together again.

Can’t keep a friendship. Useless.

I don’t think there ever was a starting point for it. There was a person who had started it, yes – but was that really all I needed to become like this? Everyone else had it so much worse, so much trauma in their lives, but me? A few measly platonic disappointments, that was all there was?

I’m just pretending. I’m just faking it, I’m overreacting. Stop being such an attention seeker.

I did try to tell myself that everyone’s reason for their mental illness is valid, regardless of how traumatic it was, and maybe it was just about the hormones like my parents sometimes told me in retrospect. Maybe it was just me growing up in addition to an already painful situation. But it never quite worked, I never quite understood why I felt like this.

Every day was difficult. My first therapist, while she was very nice, couldn’t treat me for a long time and I needed more. My second therapist – well, she was quite the specimen.

She had a dog. Some kind of terrier, or maybe a spaniel. I went to her sessions two, maybe three times. She always cancelled right before for some absurd reason, and I didn’t feel very welcome. Once, she told me I should get a diagnosis – but we didn’t discuss it further. I also trusted her with the information that I was hurting myself at the time quite regularly, and she told me we’d have to talk to me parents about it. Fair enough.

I got a text message from her the following night, saying I have to tell my parents, or she will tell them in the next few days. I was fifteen at the time, I think. After receiving that message, I wrote a letter to my parents explaining my situation and put it on their pillow. I had never been this nervous in my life, I stayed awake, hiding in my bed, until I heard them come upstairs and knock on my door.

They reassured me they’d be here for me, they’d go through this together with me.

I think my mom cried about it later when I wasn’t there.

Your fault.

The next week, we received a letter from my therapist saying she wouldn’t treat me anymore, giving me a false diagnosis and ending our therapy sessions there.

Needless to say, I was crushed. My mother went over there and gave her hell on earth – I wasn’t there, but I heard it wasn’t very pleasant.

Thanks, Mom.

Then, my third therapist. She was… comfortable. A friendly, older lady whose psychology degree must’ve been so long ago that she forgot how to do therapy. She held a lot of small talk, I never really told her about any of my feelings.

We realized that this wasn’t enough. I was still doing horrible, every day got a little harder and my brain got more and more cross-wired, fantasizing about dying nearly every day.

Attention seeker, failure, faker.

I went to a psychiatric day clinic that following summer. I stayed there for five weeks, coming and going every day to receive different types of therapy. I also received a diagnosis – severe depression.

It was the first time I had a good therapist. I liked her, she was kind, understanding, and she let me explain my feelings in a way that was easiest for me. The clinic, however, didn’t help. The programs didn’t help. The people didn’t help.

So, I went on. Three months of inpatient treatment.

Why am I even here? The other people here have it so much worse. They actually went through traumatic events. I didn’t. Why am I like this?

Therapist number five – she was great. I loved her, and I still had contact to my former therapist, which helped me greatly. I was overwhelmed with the situation at first, who wouldn’t be? Inpatient treatment at the age of sixteen, where the other girls who were around my age would sometimes get hospitalized for swallowing razor blades and trying to kill themselves.

I never tried to do anything like that. I fantasized about it, sure – but I never did it.

Don’t have the guts to do it. But I’m depressed, I should be doing this. Otherwise, I’m just a faker.

They were all really kind. We played a lot of Uno there, and I met a friend I still have to this day, despite her trauma she is one of the kindest and funniest people I know. I still treasure the photos and letters I have of these people.

After three months and my seventeenth birthday, I was released. January 31st. My dad’s birthday. We celebrated that day.

I was okay after that. Still hanging in there, still trying to hold on, but better.

I went to therapist number six, but we never really clicked, so I decided to stop going to therapy for good. It was so much stress- finding a therapist I liked, waiting months to get an appointment, needing my parents to drive me around to get to them, just to be able to function? I didn’t want it anymore.


I changed schools, made friends, became better. Every day, bit by bit, just a little.

When I felt it come back, I took action immediately. I found a therapist and got an appointment quickly. I could feel my symptoms crawling back to me, trying to get a hold of me again and ruin the process I had made. But I wouldn’t let them, I had worked too hard. I liked myself, and I was happy with who I was.

But whenever I was in therapy, I felt fine. Nothing bad was happening, I was simply here to prevent my symptoms from spreading.

You’re taking up someone else’s place.

Therapist number seven actually was the one to recommend me to travel after I’d finish school. I didn’t know that was an option – I didn’t have to jump into work right away? Count me in.

I ended my therapy a few months later, having found methods to deal with life and with myself.

I traveled for a few months. I worked in part time, I made friends, I applied for full time jobs and I moved out. I work in a good job. I’ve found my passion, and even now, eight years later, it’s still difficult to hold on. It’s still difficult sometimes to deal with myself and ignore the thoughts about wanting to die.

They don’t come often anymore. I suppose that’s as good as it can get. My friends support me, and I’m happy with who I am and where I am in life.

I’ll be okay.

Dear past me: You’ll be okay.

January 02, 2024 18:20

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Julie Grenness
23:34 Jan 10, 2024

Well written. This is a tale of survival, building a realistic picture with an apt choice of language and imagery. This story worked well for this reader. I anticipate reading more of your writing.


Alice Brooks
06:16 Jan 11, 2024

Thank you very much :)


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Rachel Eyles
04:48 Jan 03, 2024

This can't have been easy to write, good job. I hope sharing has lightened the burden even if only a tiny amount.


Alice Brooks
06:50 Jan 03, 2024

It has, I could’ve gone into way more detail but I think this worked nicely. Thank you <3


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